Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Catching up with modern Ireland: January

The new year got off to a fast start with the restoration of the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly, successful U.K. and E.U. Brexit votes, and announced Feb. 8 elections in the Republic of Ireland.

In the North, the Assembly’s three-year dormancy has laid bare “a state of deep crisis across the territory’s neglected public and political institutions,” The New York Times reported Jan. 22. Residents “wonder whether and how the regional government will be able to overhaul public services like health and education that have declined to the point of near collapse.”

Brexit Day is Jan. 31. Britain and the E.U. approved the separation and now begin negotiating a trade deal. Prospect, a U.K. publication, speculates on How Northern Ireland could use Brexit to its advantage.

With less than 10 days before elections in the Republic, polls show that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael party has fallen 7 percentage points to 23 percent since November, while rival Fianna Fail is up 2 points to 26 percent, according to a Jan. 26 roundup by Reuters. Sinn Fein was up 8 points to 19 percent and may play a role in deciding the eventual coalition government. Visit The Irish Times‘ “Inside Politics” podcast.

I’ll have more election posts in February. Now, other January news:

  • In America, the Jesuit Review, Ciara Murphy writes Ireland is fine with fracking—as long as it happens in Pennsylvania. Her piece hits close to home for me: the project site on the River Shannon estuary in North Kerry is near where my maternal grandparents lived before they emigrated to … Western Pennsylvania, center of the U.S. fracking industry and my birthplace. “For the Irish government to continue with the L.N.G. terminal on the basis of energy security for Irish people is to disregard the harm caused to people in Pennsylvania,” Murphy writes.

North Kerry LNG site.

  • Maps comparing Ireland’s island-wide rail networks in 1920 to 2020–the former being more robust–went viral on social media. The images came from a report by Irish and U.K. business interests to highlight the value of a shared all-island economy between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
  • There were 67 victims of paramilitary-style assaults in Northern Ireland in 2019, up from 51 in 2018, Foreign Policy reported, citing Police Service of Northern Ireland data, in a story speculating about a post-Brexit return to sectarian violence.
  • Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who might have revving her 2020 reelection campaign, has been appointed chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, a largely ceremonial role. She is expected to hold the post through early 2025.
  • Marian Finucane, a longtime RTÉ radio journalist, died Jan. 2, age 69. She was “one of a small number of people instantly recognized in Ireland by their first name only … [a] testament to the intimacy of her relationship with listeners,” The Irish Times obituary said.
  • Former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon, one of the architects of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, died Jan. 24, age 83.

Trump attacks Clinton’s ties to Ireland

Donald Trump is making an issue of Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Irish businessman Denis O’Brien.

O’Brien is listed by the Clinton Foundation as having made $10 million to $25 million in donations to the charity as of June 2016, The Irish Independent reports. The Irish government is also listed as fifth among 19 nations that have donated to the Foundation, contributing in the range of $5 million to $10 million.

original (512×341)

Bill Clinton and Denis O’Brien

“This attack may not be deliberate Trump payback for overt political assaults on him by senior politicians in the Dáil this year, but it should be enough to worry Irish voters,” Colum Kenny writes in The Irish Times. “With the E.U. going after tax breaks for U.S. jobs here, we do not need a pissed-off president in the White House.”

Here’s the email the Trump campaign sent to reporters, which quotes extensively from Irish and U.S. media reports.

Hillary’s Northern Ireland chats revealed in email dump

The latest batch of government email from Hillary Clinton’s private server contains several strands of conversation about Northern Ireland.

The Irish Times reports that Clinton, as Secretary of State in 2009, passed on participating in a panel discussion about the North after first saying it was “a good idea.” The panel was being hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, the family foundation she runs with her husband, the former president, and daughter. It was to feature Irish and Northern Irish officials. Clinton bowed out of the event after an aide suggested her appearance might be perceived as a conflict.

In another conversation, the 2016 Democratic presidential front runner express her glee that Co. Tipperary businessman Declan Kelly received a State Department security clearance to serve as her economic envoy to Northern Ireland. Kelly runs the New York public relations and corporate advisory firm Tenco with  Doug Band, a former adviser to Bill Clinton.

Clinton used a private account during her State Department tenure to shield her email from public record requests. A U.S. judge ordered the State Department to release the emails in batches every 30 days until all 55,000 pages she gave to the agency in December are released.

One other note on U.S.-Irish relations: Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. They discussed the Irish economic recovery, immigration reform including the plight of the undocumented Irish in the U.S., and the situation in the North, according to the Times.

Boehner was accompanied to Dublin by seven members of Congress.